France considers extending school holidays to counter Covid spread

French President Emmanuel Macron and his government are considering extending the upcoming school holidays in an effort to slow down the spiralling spread of Covid-19, the government spokesperson said on Thursday.

France considers extending school holidays to counter Covid spread
An empty school ground in Chanteloup, a suburb of Rennes, western France. Photo: AFP

“It is possible to think about extending the holidays one way or the other,” Gabriel Attal told France Inter radio, while stressing that keeping schools open remained a top priority for the government.

Macron's government will decide in the coming days what steps to take in order to prevent the coronavirus from, once again, spiralling out of control and putting strain on the country's hospitals.

After the first, strict lockdown in spring, the government has said it will not close schools again, reiterating that the social, educational and psychological costs were too high the first time.

ANALYSIS: Is France right to keep its schools open during the pandemic?

When other European countries kept children home after the winter holidays, France reopened schools as planned, while reinforcing the health protocol and announcing a rollout of mass-testing in the educational establishments.

Face masks are compulsory in schools in France for children over 6 years old. Photo: AFP

“We are proud of this choice,” said Attal, but adding that “now we are in a particular situation,” referring to the new and more contagious variant of the virus first discovered in the UK.

“All scenarios are on the table, nothing is excluded,” he said.


Schools in France go on holidays at different times in February depending on where in the country they are located. Zone A schools break up on February 6th, zone B on February 20th and zone C on February 13th (see the official calendar HERE).

One of the options to halt the spread of the virus mentioned by Attal would be to move February school holidays “one way or the other” in order to keep everyone at home together at the same time.

“But, again,” he said, “our objective remains that children can keep learning.”

Health Minister Olivier Véran will hold a press conference at 2pm on Thursday to give a general update on the Covid situation in France, but he is not expected to announce changes to the current health rules.

The government will announce a new press conference, possibly by the president himself, at the end of this week or early next week.

READ ALSO: Decision on third lockdown in France to be made 'in coming days'

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


French vocab and prices: Your guide to visiting the dentist in France

From finding a dentist to treatment costs, plus the crucial bits of French vocab, here's everything you need to know about visiting the dentist in France.

French vocab and prices: Your guide to visiting the dentist in France

The dentist – as unjustly dreaded in France as they are anywhere else in the world.

But, while few, if any, of us enjoy visiting our friendly, neighbourhood chirurgien-dentiste, we all know that it’s important to care for our teeth and gums, so here’s what you need to know.

How to make an appointment

A simple web search for a dentiste or chirurgien-dentiste will bring up the contact details of local professionals. Then it’s a case of ringing up to make an appointment. There is no need to be registered with a dentist, you can visit anyone who has a free appointment, although you may prefer to keep your appointments with the same person if you are  having ongoing treatment.

Alternatively, sites such as Doctolib may allow you to book a slot online.

If you’re worried about remembering your French verb conjugation while you have a mouth full of blood, Doctolib also lets you know which languages your dentist speaks.

READ ALSO How to use the French medical website Doctolib

How much it costs

The government-set going rate for a dental check-up is €23 for dentists working in the public health system – which most do. As a result, 70 percent of that fee, paid at the time of the consultation, will be reimbursed for anyone who holds a carte vitale.

Check-ups last as long as the dentist needs to examine your teeth. If no additional work is required, it’s just a few minutes in the chair.

If you require additional work, then how much you pay goes up – along with the time it takes. A basic filling, for example, costs €26.97, of which €18.88 is reimbursed. Descaling adds €28.92 to the initial bill, but is again partially reimbursed.

The upfront cost of root canal work on a molar, meanwhile, is €81.94, while extraction of a permanent tooth costs €33.44. 

The full price list is available on the Ameli website.

For any procedure that costs more than €70, your dentist will provide you with a written estimate, along with a number of options. 

Remember, these prices are for dentists operating in the state sector. Fees at private practices are higher.

What about crowns, implants or dentures?

Your dentist might offer you the option of a crown or implant instead of the basic treatments of fillings and extractions, but these are expensive and are usually not covered on the carte vitale, so here whether or not you have a mutuelle is important.

The top-up health cover known as a mutuelle – find more details here – will generally offer dental cover, but exactly what is covered depends on your policy.

If you require special treatment, make sure to consult the price list, as you will often have to pay up front before you can claim anything back. 

Dental hygienist/teeth-cleaning

If you like to visit the dentist regularly for a scale and polish you will need to check whether your dentist’s cabinet employs a hygiéniste dentaire (dental hygienist).

Most practices do but not all. If you’re going to a new practice it’s generally better to make an appointment first with the dentist for a check-up, and then ask for regular hygienist appointments.

Useful vocabulary

Dental surgery – un cabinet dentaire

Emergency dentist – un dentiste de service

I would like to make an appointment – je voudrais prendre un rendez-vous

I would like a check-up – je voudrais une visite de contrôle

It is an emergency – c’est une urgence

A tooth – une dent

Wisdom teeth – les dents de sagesse

A filling – une plombage or un pansement

une dévitalisation – root canal

I have broken a tooth – je me suis cassé une dent

I have a toothache – j’ai mal aux dents

My gums are bleeding – Mes gencives saignent

I have a cavity – J’ai une carie

My gums hurt – J’ai mal aux gencives

This one hurts – Celle-là me fait mal

These ones hurt – Celles-là me font mal

An abscess – Percer un abcès

Nerve – le nerf

An extraction – une extraction

Injection – une injection/une piqûre

Local anaesthetic – une anesthésie locale

Denture/s – les dentier/s or une prothèse dentaire/les prothèses dentaires

A crown – une couronne

A bridge – un bridge

ARRRRRRGH – AIIIIIIIIE (hopefully you won’t need this one)